Are you having trouble getting your children to read for fun at home? You are, unfortunately, not alone!
There has been a big decline in the number of kids who read at home over the course of the last 10 years. According to a poll done back in 2010, about 60 percent of kids said they enjoyed reading for fun at home. But today, that number has dropped to just 51 percent, and it appears to be trending in the wrong direction in more recent years, in particular.
To get your child reading more, you’re likely going to have to find ways to get them to put their electronics down. A recent study revealed that most kids under 9 spend more than 2 hours per day using smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Want to reverse that trend in your house? Here are some helpful tips on how to help your child read at home more often.
Start Reading to Your Child From a Young Age
The easiest way to get your kids excited about reading for fun is to make it a part of their lives from a young age.
According to a recent study, more than 80 percent of kids say that they love listening to their parents read out loud to them. And those kids between the ages of 6 and 11 report wishing their parents would read more to them than they do.
The good news is that most parents know that it’s a good idea for them to read to their kids. More than 70 percent of them start doing it when their kids are between the ages of 0 and 5.
But if you fall into the 30 percent of parents who don’t read to their kids regularly, change that as soon as possible. Sit down with your young children and read them nursery rhymes and other books while going over the sounds and letters you come across in them.
Both you and your kids will get a lot out of reading together from a young age.
Schedule Time for Your Child to Read on Their Own
Reading to your kids from a young age is obviously important. Studies have shown that young children who are read to several times every week are more likely to recognize letters and understand sounds than those who don’t read with parents and other family members.
But you shouldn’t read aloud to your kids every single time you sit down with a book, especially if they’ve learned how to read in school. Once they start to get the hang of reading, you should also encourage them to sit down and read on their own every now and then.
The best way to do this is by scheduling time for them. Set aside 15 or 20 minutes every day for them to sit quietly and read a book.
Once they’re done, ask them questions about what they read to test their reading comprehension skills. Or have them to re-tell the story they read in the book so that you know they understood it.
Set Up a Reading Nook in Your Home for Your Child
Teachers will usually get kids excited about reading in school by allowing them to find a comfortable area in their classroom to curl up with a good book. This gives kids the chance to leave their desks and lay down on a carpet or sit in a rocking chair for a little while to read.
You can do the same thing at home! Rather than banishing your child to the kitchen table or their bedroom to read, find a spot in your house and turn it into a fun reading nook. Allow your child to decorate it with artwork and make it their own.
Your child will start to feel a sense of ownership over this reading nook and will enjoy using it.
Take Your Child to Get a Library Card
A few years ago, there was a big push all across the country to encourage parents to take their children to the library to get a library card. Many parents heard the call and took their kids to sign up for a library card.
If your child doesn’t have a library card yet, now is the perfect time to get them one. There are so many advantages that come along with it.
Here are a few of the benefits of allowing your child to sign up for their own library card:
- Your child will feel a sense of responsibility to take care of both the books they check out and their library card itself
- Your child will get access to a wider variety of books than you have available in your home
- Your child will be able to get book recommendations from librarians and other children at the library
- Your child will enjoy being able to make decisions for themselves by picking out the books they want
All of this will come from simply obtaining a library card for your child. It’ll be amazing to see what a difference it makes in your child’s outlook on reading.
The library will be especially valuable to English language learners, those kids who have scored low on the Lexile measure, and any child with a learning disability.
Expose Your Child to a Variety of Different Kinds of Books
If your child doesn’t seem to enjoy reading very much, it might not be the reading itself that they don’t like. It could very well be the books that you’re exposing them to.
Have a talk with your child about what kinds of books they would like to read, and see if the books you’re giving to them match up with what they like. If your child is interested in, say, science-fiction books, then the last thing you want to do is buy them a bunch of sports-related books for their birthday.
Push your child to read lots of different genres when they’re first starting to read. After a month or two, they should fall into a groove and figure out what kinds of books interest them most.
Ask Your Child to Put Together a Book of Their Own
There are some kids who will continue to give their parents a hard time about reading, no matter how hard the parents try. Get creative if you find that your child won’t sit down and read a book for more than a few minutes.
Instead of reading a book, tell them that you want to see them create a book of their own. Help them come up with an entertaining story and then let them handle the complete creation of the book.
From drawing the book cover to coming up with the right words for the story, your child will have a blast when you make reading a little more interactive. This is a great way to boost their literacy skills without simply forcing them to sit down and read.
It might also give them a newfound appreciation for all the hard work that goes into making a book. They might be more inclined to give reading a chance once they realize how hard authors and illustrators work to create books for them.
Use Technology to Your Advantage (In Small Doses!)
Part of the reason many parents want their kids to read more is to pull them away from technology. But these days, that can be an almost impossible task.
Rather than fighting an uphill battle against your tech-savvy child, use technology to your advantage by downloading reading apps for kids to the tablet your child uses. Some of the best reading apps for kids are:
- Epic! Books for Kids
- Hooked on Phonics
- Reading Rainbow
- Starfall Learn to Read
There is a ton of content on Reading Eggs that will educate your children about letters, sounds, phonemic awareness, and more. Best of all, your kids will have fun while they’re using Reading Eggs, so you won’t have to hear them fuss about reading on it.
Spend More Time Reading Yourself
How much time do you spend reading? If you don’t read much or, worse, if you don’t read at all, there’s a good chance your child is going to follow your lead and refuse to read, too.
Studies have suggested that almost 60 percent of kids who read frequently have parents who read almost every day.
Start setting a better example for your kids by making reading a part of your life. You might even want to get your whole family to read together every night. That’ll be great for everyone and will show your kids the importance of reading.
Get Your Child Reading More and They’ll Do Better in School
Way back in the 1970s, two English researchers started a long-term study to see what effect reading for fun would have on children over the course of their lives. They studied more than 17,000 people from the time they were kids up until they were in their 40s.
They found that people who spent time reading for fun at a young age had better literacy skills over their lives as well as improved cognitive abilities in other areas such as mathematics.
The study is actually still ongoing. But it strongly suggests a correlation between reading for fun and overall intelligence. It should be more than enough to get you to get your child reading more at all costs moving forward.
Read our blog to find other ways to make reading and learning as a whole more fun for your children.